#25: From Africa to America - The Basil Ajuo Story


“We grew up in a community where people were dying every day.”

In this episode of Twin Cities Podcast, Mike welcomes Basil Aujo to speak about his incredible journey from Cameroon, Africa to Minnesota.

Basil talks about the realities of growing up in a poor African village with limited resources and little access to healthcare.

Basil was raised by his grandmother who preached the importance of education and community service. Those two pillars serve as a framework for the inspiring life Basil has created for himself in the Twin Cities.

In 2016, MN Governor Mark Dayton appointed Basil to the Minnesota State Board of Trustees where he holds a leadership position and represents the student voice.

He is also the chairman and executive director of a non-profit called the International Institute for Caring, where he focuses on education, human rights, immigration, and mental health, among other challenging issues.

This is a remarkable story about opportunity, vision, and serving others.


Topics mentioned or discussed:

  • Education as an investment

  • The impact of AIDS in Cameroon

  • Serving in the Red Cross at age 11

  • Basil’s first TV images of the U.S.

  • Fear of the Cameroon government

  • Depression and isolation

  • North Hennepin Community College

  • Metro State University

  • Basil’s vision for the future

  • Non-profit success stories


Basil's Favorites in the Twin Cities

Favorite Meal under $15

Favorite Public Space:

  • Downtown Minneapolis

How would you describe the Twin Cities?

  • "I like to use my eyes when I'm downtown. I would tell them about buildings, roads, and shopping. The Twin Cities is a real place for business"

State of the Union Message

  • “Building confidence in immigrants is an investment in our nation.”